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so im not sure where else to ask it but this seems like a good place. ive been having contractions for over two days now, they are steady and getting a little more intense by the day. i want to know if they are actually doing anything or not, im not due till 12/26 but my doc said this baby could be early cause of his size. i would rather be able to check myself then let other people do it. i read on here a while back about how to check but im not sure. how can i tell if its really my cervix im feeling? any suggestions at this point would be nice. if their just braxton hicks contractions again i guess i can deal but i want to know if not how long i have. its an hour drive, one way, to my doctors from my house so if i have to go i want it to be for real!!
 

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When the contractions are about 2-3 min apart and 60-90 seconds long, and you can't talk thru them,and they are getting progressively stronger, then I would head for the hospital. If this is your first baby, then you will probably be about 6-7 cm or so when you get there. That should give you time to settle in, before transition...
 

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The trouble is, dilation/effacement at this point doesn't tell you much - I know someone who went into her OB and had an internal exam at 37 weeks and was told she was 3 cm dilated but she didn't give birth until almost 2 weeks later. Other women I've read on here have had exams say nothing was happening and the next day they were holding a baby.

I suppose it may be possible to check your own dilation - (you might try cross posting on the unassisted childbirth board, I bet those ladies know how!) but I think the pp's advice is best, about just waiting until the contractions really tell you its serious. The book "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" has good descriptions of when to go to the hospital, if you can find a copy in your library. (Hint: if you are still happy and excited, its too soon!)

I know how anxious this time is and how hard it is to be uncertain and not know for sure what's happening. Good luck and just hang in there as best you can.
 

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I'm one of those that dilate slowly. I was 3-4 cm for at least the last month with my first, and 2-3 cm for the last month with my second. Contractions for months...

So, I'd wait for the contractions to tell me something... don't jump to the hospital until you feel like you "need to be in a hospital." By the time you get there, you'll be ready to have a baby without a bunch of waiting (and all the interventions if/when you "stall")
 
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